Five Business Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid

14.12.09 | Posted in Networking Women & Business Women In Business

It surprises me how few people have learned proper business etiquette. To me this stuff is common sense. Here are five mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

Mistake number one: Leaving a message without referring to what you want.

Here’s how it goes: “Hi Emma, it’s Ben here. I’d like to have a chat with you – please call me back”.

Now Ben. If I don’t know you that well, and if I don’t know what you want to speak with me about there’s a high chance I’m not going to invest my time in calling you back. In fact, it’s rude that you’d even ask me to!

At least have the courtesy to briefly explain the reason why you’re getting in touch so the recipient can be prepared when they call back.

Mistake number two: Not having your contact details in your email signature.

I see this one all the time and it’s a constant source of frustration. Particularly when the person says in their email “call me about this”. Well I would if I knew your number!

Make it easy for people to communicate with you (even if you deal with them every day).

Mistake number three: Not doing your research and wasting people’s time.

I get this one a lot. People don’t take the time to research my businesses and come to me with questions that my team could easily deal with. Respect people’s time and show that you’ve done your research first.

Mistake number four: Not introducing the people around you

Ever had this one? You’re standing there and a person you know walks up with someone you don’t know. Your mate starts talking with you, but regrets to introduce the person they’re with. Awkward. The first rule of any social situation, if it involves people who haven’t met, is to take control and make the intros.

Mistake number five: Messing up the handshake

Say goodbye to bone breaking handshakes now. No one thinks you’re better because you’re strong. A lovely firm handshake will do the trick – no pain required. Perhaps the only thing worse than a much too hard handshake is the dead fish handshake. You got to find a happy medium. If you’re not sure if your handshake is doing the trick, get practicing on a friend.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Amber

    Thanks so much for these, Emma. Isn’t it amazing how so many people go about their daily business creating such silly yet very simple annoyances. Another one I find really frustrating is when you meet someone (let’s say at a networking function) you exchange details, and suddenly you’re being spammed with their daily newsletters and updates, that have no relevance. So, my number six is always ask the person for permission before you add them to your database to be kept informed of their business stuff.

    I am looking forward to many more great blogs!


  2. Alex Moody


    I agree! I especially like the first one.

    I work in the fitness industry and only take about 30 mins out of each day to reply to email and voicemail.

    Be direct and too the point, and leave options!

    Great post.


  3. Ando

    number 4 is hard for me as I’m always forgetting people’s names. Although the classic move is to introduce you “This is Emma… ” and then let you get the name to remind me about thingimabob… of course that only works if I can remember your name

  4. Kirra

    This is a great post Emma, I have just started out in a graduate role and your thoughts are very helpful. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in what everybody else does, like emailing the person in the office next door when it is just as easy, and results in far better communication to take the effort to see them face to face.

  5. Debbie

    Very important advice. I like the 5th mistake, it is very off putting when you are dealing with other people and it comes to a handshake and they give that very limp style handshake. Another tip should be to warm your hands up prior to shaking someones hand. It’s never nice shaking a cold, limp hand! Great advice.

  6. Samantha Fieliciano

    Could not agree more! Number 1 in particular, seriously how hard is it to leave this information and important to ensure the person will call you back. Thanks Em